Travel Guide North America Mexico Chiapas Palenque



The city of Palenque, located in Chiapas, Mexico, has the feeling of being a small town truck stop that got slammed hard buy the money making machine of tourism. The only thing worth doing in this city is visiting the amazing Palenque Ruin, organize a tour to see other remote ruins in the area or jump on a van to Guatemala.



Sights and Activities

  • Palenque Ruin are an amazing set of ruins that during the high season can see over a 1,000 visitors a day!

Near to Palenque

  • Yaxchilan these more remote ruins are located on the river separating Mexico and Guatemala. These ruins have a very remote feel to them with howler monkey's screaming and bats dominating the inwards of the ruins.
  • Bonampak usually tagged onto a Yaxchilan trip is home to some of the best preserved Mayan murals in the world.
  • Lacandon Rain Forest is an amazing bio-preserve with stunning wildlife, waterfalls and undiscovered ruins.



Events and Festivals

Day of the Dead

Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries except Mexico (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexico where it is equal to a National Holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Although it is about the Dead, it is also a celebration where eating and partying both are common as well.

Other Events and Festivals

Grito de la Independencia - September 15th is Mexican Independence Day! A massive celebration involving plenty of singing, dancing and fireworks takes place in the Zócalo. Everyone here awaits an appearance from Mexico's president who rings a bell from a central balcony of the Palacio Nacional overlooking the Zócalo. The president then shouts out the Grito de Dolores, or the Cry of Dolores which was Father Hidalgo's famous call to arms against Spanish rule in 1810.

  • Dia de la Candelaria. Candlemas is held February 2nd and commemorates Jesus being introduced into the temple 40 days after his birth. This nationwide celebration sees many different ways of celebrating and many towns hold processions, bullfights and dances. Of course, plenty of delicious, traditional foods are served during Dia de la Candelaria as well.
  • Carnaval is held in late February or early March throughout all of Mexico. This big party is meant to celebrate the 40 day penance of Lent. Carnaval always takes place during the week or so prior to Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter Sunday. Mexicans celebrate this holiday with fireworks, food, dancing, parades, dancing and drinking.
  • Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a huge celebration which starts on Palm Sunday. This is a very popular time for Mexicans to take a short break; as a result, it seems most of the country is on the move, with buses and hotels often booked out. As for the celebration of Semana Santa, expect colorful processions and many masses at churches everywhere.
  • Día de Nuestra Seňora de Guadalupe, or Day of our Lady of Guadalupe, is held December 12th. There is a week-long build up to this religious celebration in honour of the Virgin who appeared to the indigenous Juan Diego in the year 1531. Since then, the Lady of Guadalupe has been Mexico's religious patron and her veneration is very significant. It is traditional for young boys to be dressed as a Juan Diego and for young girls to be dressed in indigenous garb and brought to a special mass, held at many churches throughout the country.
  • New Year's Eve. Mexicans celebrate New Year's Eve or locally known as Año Nuevo, by downing a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the midnight countdown, while making a wish with each one. Mexican families decorate homes and parties, during New Year's, with colors such as red, to encourage an overall improvement of lifestyle and love, yellow to encourage blessings of improved employment conditions, green to improve financial circumstances and white to improved health. Mexican sweet bread is baked with a coin or charm hidden in the dough. When the bread is served, the recipient whose slice contains the coin or charm is believed to be blessed with good luck in the new year. One can expect a lot of firecrackers, fireworks and sparklers being fired. At midnight there is a lot of noise and everyone shouts: "Feliz año nuevo!" People embrace, make noise, set off firecrackers, and sing Auld Lang Syne.



Getting There

By Plane

The local airport is only used for military use, the closest airport is in Villahermosa and only a 2 to 3 hour drive away on a very good road.

By Bus

There is only one best station and it is located at the west end of town only a short cab ride from the city centre.

To and From Tikal

It is possible to arrange transport into Guatemala and even directly to Tikal. The one way trip takes over 7 hours and involves a ferry across the river. Most of the time the trip to the river is pared up with day travellers or multi-day travellers going to Yaxchilan and Bonampak, which leave at about 5:30 am. After crossing the river a driver will pick you up (on either side) and take you to the immigration office that is not on the border.

The cost depends greatly on what is included and the kind of trip is it a one way trip, two way trip, one day or multi-day trip, food included, Tikal tickets included, only to the border, only to Flores (Guatemala) or does it go onward. The trip prices range from about 500 to 2,000 pesos depending on hat is included. Any travel agent in town or at El Panchan can arrange the trip for you. It is possible to take local transport but this will be a series of collectivos to the border that will take a much longer time.




There is two options to sleeping in Palenque. One is in the town, which is home to most of the resorts and standard hotels. The other is El Panchan, which is set in the jungle and home to the more bohemian backpacker scene. If short on time the town makes more since, although this is changing because El Panchan is much better connected to the town now then in the past and has a great atmosphere that includes nightly music performances and hippy artists selling their work.



  • Shalom 1 and 2 are both located on Juarez and offer clean simple rooms ranging from 150 pesos to 400 pesos.
  • Hotel San Migual located at Hidalgo 43 offers nice basic doubles for 250 pesos and dorms for 100 pesos. The rooms are large, clean and simple.
  • Hotel Regional is a small hotel located on Juarez with murals on the walls. The rooms are bit shabby and can be very dirty. It is an ok last choice.

El Panchan

  • Mayabell is a fun outside town option with hammocks for 15 pesos or cabanas starting at 250 pesos. It is also attached to a nice restaurants were local hippies play music every night for food and a place to sleep. Another nice feature of this place is the ability to walk to the ruins.



El Panchan



El Panchan

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Keep Connected


Along the main street of Jurez in town there are several internet cafe's offer the same price and the same service.
Sometimes photocopy stores or photo processing stores will double as an internet cafe with a couple of computers. Look for signs reading "Acceso a Internet" or "Cibernautica" or "Cibercafe". Charges range from approx. US$1 an hour to US$3 an hour, depending on the location.


See also International Telephone Calls

Phone cards can be purchased anywhere and are needed for the majority of public phones. To call any number outside your region you have to dial 01 then followed by the area code. If calling a cellphone from a normal phone start with with 044. If calling cellphone to cellphone just dial the 10-digit number. To make an international call dial 00 followed by the country code then the local number. To call to Mexico, also dial 00 (most of the times) followed by the national code 52.


The Mexican postal service is operated by Correos de México. The post service in Mexico is pretty good although not very cheap. It is reliable regarding the sending of postcards, but it takes at least a week to send it to other countries (US/Canada), more so if you send it to Europe or Australia. For packages it is better to use international services like FedEx or UPS. If you are sending a package internationally with the Mexican postal service, take the package OPEN to the post office, they may want to inspect it. Seal it up at the post office. Post offices typically open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 1:00pm Saturday. You will find post offices (Oficina de Correos) is almost any town or city in Mexico. To buy stamps it is best to go to the post office, although you can also get them at stamp machines, located outside the post offices, at bus stations, airports and some commercial establishments.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 17.508847
  • Longitude: -91.981288

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This is version 24. Last edited at 3:14 on Dec 30, 19 by road to roam. 7 articles link to this page.

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